Hosted by the Senior Class Gift Committee (SCGC), one of the annual fundraisers turned exciting campus tradition is the Senior Date Auction. For many years, seniors have raised money to give a lasting gift to the university upon their graduation.
In 2018, it was decided that future gifts would now take the form of scholarships. When Marina Boyle was chosen to chair the Class of 2021 Senior Class Gift Committee with fellow seniors Grace Siwinski and Claire Orr, she immediately thought of Kenny Robinson and wanted to honor his legacy with the “Beat The Odds” scholarship. The award aims to help out a future Laker who embodies Kenny’s spirit and legacy in an inspirational and meaningful way.
On March 15, the Senior Class Gift Committee hosted their annual Senior Date Auction to continue to raise money in aid of the Senior Class Gift. Boyle shared a bit about this special fundraising event, noting that it was the first time this year that the committee has been able to host a major in-person event for seniors.
“The committee members source unique prizes from across campus and the Erie community which are then bid on by attendees at the event,” said Boyle. “This helps to raise money for the gift.”
Seniors participated in the auction by holding the items on stage, helping to create a personal connection to each item auctioned off.
Boyle stated that this year they “tried to pick seniors from a variety of groups and sports teams on campus to expand our reach and to honor the legacy of Kenny as an athlete.”
While on-campus events have been limited with the effects of COVID-19, the event still had an outstanding turnout.
“We were able to welcome every person who wanted to attend, whether that was in person or on Zoom,” said Boyle.
All prizes were kept COVID safe, and all attendees were required to wear a mask and social distance throughout the event. While each prize nearly doubled in its initial bid, there were a few prizes that sold for incredibly generous amounts.
Some of the most popular prizes were gift cards for local restaurants, a hand-knitted hat made by Michelle Scully from campus ministry, Mercyhurst spirit shirts, and the Mercyhurst flags from Day of Service and Hurst Day. The highest selling prize was an overnight stay at Splash Lagoon for four people, with two-day passes for the park and breakfast included. This was the most popular item and raised over $200 on its own.
The total amount raised at the Senior Date Auction was $1657. The committee is now less than $1,100 away from their class gift goal of $15,000.
“The best part of the evening was that not only did we raise a lot of money for the gift, but we were also able to bring seniors together for a large in-person event for the first time since the pandemic began. Being able to gather to have some fun and honor the memory of Kenny Robinson is what this event was all about. I’m so thankful to all the seniors who attended and to everyone who donated a prize or bid on items to help us get closer to our $15,000 goal.” Boyle said.
The Senior Class Gift Commit-tee hopes to have one final in-per-son fundraising event before graduation to reach the $15,000 goal. In the meantime, any senior can donate $100 or more to become a top donor and receive philanthropy cords at graduation, as well as a mention on the Class of 2021 Gift Plaque.